Profiled PIPers

Xavier Maillart

Introduction

Xavier has the X-factor. He and his family are based in sunny São Paulo, Brazil, where he can often be found either sailing the sea or relaxing while reading a great book. He’s a problem solver who enjoys supervising small improvements in the house. Did we mention he also speaks four languages fluently? There’s no doubt that impeccable talent comes in handy while working with clients in Latin America and all over Europe.

Xavier is someone to emulate. He is an engineer with a track record of nearly two successful decades working in operational improvement, business development and operations. Xavier’s go-to areas of expertise are industrial goods, retail, food, financial services and private equity.

As a ‘people person’ Xavier loves how Partners in Performance has implemented ‘Summer Camp’, where everyone from the Latin American region joins together at an off-site location for a week of training and professional development, where Xavier and his colleagues also enjoy their fair share of social time, relaxation and fun in the sun. Xavier and his family also have a love for sailing. When he moved from Belgium to Brazil, Xavier bought an old sailboat. He spends time fixing it up and encourages his family and friends join him on board.

Career snapshot

  • Refractories manufacturing – 'Continuous Improvement' (CI): Diagnostic of an industrial operation, regrouping various plants manufacturing refractory materials, and the definition of a CI programme to capture ~US$10m EBITDA improvement.
  • Mining company – transformation programme: Transformation programme to improve the performance of a mining company in six months including the stabilisation of recovery, implementing a management system in critical operations, improvements in planning and maintenance, and the redesign of the processes in the financial and commercial areas
  • Chemical company – RocX: Optimisation of NPV for the first greenfield plant of a leading Brazilian chemical company in the US. This entailed a review of the reactor configuration and product mix, Capex and Opex plans, project schedule and supporting presentation to the board. This improved NPV by US$70m.
  • Oil and gas – Business Improvement (BI): Management of a portfolio of improvement ideas to accelerate the drilling, completion and cost reduction of drilling new wells.
  • Pulp and paper – construction productivity: Follow-up of physical progress and critical KPIs to ensure that the construction of the largest pulp and paper plant in Latin America remained on schedule.
  • Dairy products – BI Brazil: Part of a diagnostic that identified improvement potential of US$20m. Focused on the production process (debottlenecking and planning improvements), and on pricing and commercial aspects to increase volume by 8%, focusing on the most profitable product lines.
  • Retailer – purchasing: Realised €2.5m yearly purchasing savings by realigning sourcing in six LATAM countries with group structure, renegotiating and implementing regional contracts, and including performance and collaboration targets for key suppliers.
  • Steel producer: Transformation programme for shared services department. Engagement involved visits to all production sites and a review of service providers. Resulted in an 11% saving on Opex while increasing SLA for various services.
  • Insurance – post-merger integration: Entailed the planning and facilitation of working groups to merge two ~500-people insurance operations (commercial and back office) in Belgium. Involved in redefining the organisation and selecting the products, processes and systems to maintain or decommission, in order to build a sustainable operation and realise €60m of yearly synergies.
  • Optical group – business development: Managed the integration and transition of family-owned companies to an international group. This involved the formalisation of a strategy and business plan, the assessment and coaching of the management team, a first budget cycle, and the mitigation of contingencies to obtain clean internal and external audits and get the team and operational results aligned with expectations within 12 months from acquisition.
  • Retailer – offer simplification: Reduced the complexity of the offering (number of stock keeping units) by 30% while increasing customer and store satisfaction. Changes involved definition of a 'core assortment', alignment of pricing, sales commission and training, and the range of available SKUs at store and distribution centre level. Done in parallel with the introduction of a private label line, resulting in a decrease in average serving time (from 35 to 10 minutes), increasing product rotation and overall margin by 20%.

Education

  • Engineering degrees from the Universities of Louvain and Cambridge
  • MBA from INSEAD